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Memo to Gov. Baker: Stop New Wind Projects

January 11, 2015

SCT-Levesque-1-2015

 

In response to the Globe South’s question “Should the Baker administration support wind energy?” Joanne Levesque argued that

Our state’s energy policy should never sacrifice the rights of private property owners or promote public harm. Current support for wind power projects is premised on allowing harm to our neighbors. Violation of the law is not how a civil society should adopt solutions to climate-change challenges.

A resident of Duxbury, Levesque serves on the Wind Advisory Committee. She urged the Baker administration to

immediately do what 44 Massachusetts cities and towns have done in the past 10 years — that is to deny the construction of new land-based wind projects. The new administration should also do what Falmouth has been forced to do by a Barnstable Superior Court judge who ruled on the evidence: reduce the operational hours of existing turbines to protect their neighbors from further harm.

The pro/con discussion appeared in the Boston Globe’s metro South edition on January 10, 2015.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2015 12:12 pm

    The scientific understanding of wind energy impact issues is incomplete and ongoing. A lack of knowledge and/or understanding of critical implications in a business model would indeed be considered an unsound business practice to pursue. As with any business model, determinative impact involves allocation of benefits and burdens. Burdens, however, are lawfully not authorized to sub-standardize citizen basic rights. As the land-based wind agenda effort has grown, the frequency of litigation cases defending personal rights have increasingly risen across the state. Often, wind neighbors (as well as communities) defend their rights (ie health, property, home-rule) against state endorsed projects. The past Administration’s state agencies, designated to uphold these basic rights, in fact were throttled from actively obtaining their mission outcome by an Administration driven by conflicting directives and wind energy goals. The question whether the Baker administration should support wind energy? In the case of land-based wind, supporting present protocol and procedure, given no clear, predictable and protective state setback standard ensuring turbines can be sited in appropriate locations, would not only be absurd, but (as ‘Charlie’ surely is aware) a very unsound business practice.

  2. January 11, 2015 11:28 am

    I have urged the voters of Massachusetts to “shake ’em up”, and they did by electing Charlie Baker, Governor. Now the ball is in your court, Charlie. I hope you are listening.

  3. January 11, 2015 11:12 am

    FYI – Please Note: My original submission to the Boston Globe was edited. I engaged in an epic battle with the Globe to retain much of my original content. Seen below is my original submission. This submission was supported by a large volume of factual documentation and evidence, including from “US Gov’t” websites – unfortunately the Globe deemed some of my “evidence” as unacceptable therefore many points to support the basis for “No to wind” was removed from my position piece.

    Our state’s energy policy should never sacrifice the rights of private property owners or promote public harm. Current support for wind power projects is premised on allowing harm to our neighbors. Violation of the law is not how a civil society should adopt solutions to climate change challenges.

    I strongly support Governor-elect Baker’s commitments to reducing carbon emissions while working to ensure Massachusetts has access to reliable and affordable sources of energy. Solar, natural gas, hydroelectric generation and energy efficiency efforts need to be part of the solution.

    The Baker Administration should immediately do what 44 Massachusetts cities and towns have done in the past 10 years; that is to deny the construction of new land-based wind energy projects. The administration should also do what Falmouth has been forced to do by a Barnstable Superior Court Judge who ruled on the evidence; reduce the operational hours of existing turbines to protect the neighbors from further harm.

    Industrial wind turbines:

    – adversely impact the health of many adjacent neighbors,

    – kill millions of bats and birds,

    – reduce adjacent property values,

    – degrade valuable eco-systems and watersheds,

    – are an unreliable energy source,

    – produce relatively little of our energy needs, and

    – make virtually no economic sense.

    Consider a few facts:

    – Existing turbines are too close to residents’ homes. Example: Kingston’s Independence turbine was documented to violate Massachusetts’ air pollution regulations by more than 50%. The audible noise level in Kingston was determined to be more than twice what was assured in the pre-construction acoustic report.

    – The Hoosac Wind project is the largest and most expensive wind project in Massachusetts ($23 million in federal subsidies alone), yet in 2013 it produced less than one-fifth of one percent of the total amount of the state’s electric power needs.

    – Falmouth is losing over $400,000 a year on their two turbines.

    – Princeton has lost more than $1.9 million since 2009 on its two turbines and the town’s electric rates are among the highest in the Commonwealth.

    My conclusion:

    Existing wind projects received approvals based on serious errors, omissions and misrepresentation of facts. My sincere hope is that Governor-elect Baker will discontinue support for wind energy based on sound scientific and economic reasoning.

    Joanne Levesque – Appointed to the “Duxbury Wind Advisory Committee”

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